Our Stories

  • From the Spent and Unconsidered Earth – a Forest!
    Oct 23, 2016

    15 August 2016, Jalalabad – The Gamberi Desert, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, is home to 1,000 families. It’s a land of extremes: harsh, dry, sandy, and hot, making life a struggle for the people who live there. Many years ago, it was different. The Gamberi Desert was a forest of indigenous bushes that held the soil together and allowed life to grow. But decades of conflict and poverty forced communities to cut down the bushes and use the wood cooking and heating. Deforestation led to desertification, sand storms and the erosion of agricultural fields.

  • Solar Powered Education: Nangahar University Blazes a Trail
    Oct 23, 2016

    Nangarhar University, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, is the second largest University in Afghanistan. Covering a whopping 40 hectares of land and serving 15,000 students, its tree-lined avenues stretch on for miles. But at night, they are pitch black, leaving both students and professors feeling unsafe in the dark. Public spaces are empty and no one spends much time outside.

  • Afghanistan’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest
    Aug 29, 2016

    5 June 2016, Kabul – Today is World Environment Day and here in Afghanistan we celebrated with the country’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest.

  • Once Were Hunters – Now Conservationists
    Aug 29, 2016

    17 March 2016, Kabul – Daud killed his first ibex when he was only 12 years old. His father would wake him up in the middle of the night to go hunting, and they’d set out together in the dark, Daud so afraid that his hands would shake. Later on, he’d learn to kill with calm efficiency.

  • Equator Prize Winner from Afghanistan Brings Back Pride and Hope
    Aug 29, 2016

    Badakhshan, 20 January 2016 – Ahmad Seyar woke up early one morning in late September, performed his prayers and went back to bed. Then he picked up his phone, scrolled through his emails and read “Congrats on winning the Equator Prize” – a message from Helen Clark, the head of UNDP.

  • From Refugee to Politician: Afghanistan’s First Female Provincial Council Chair Fights for Rights
    Aug 10, 2016

    Tayeba Khawary is an Afghan, but she was born as a refugee in Iran after her family fled Afghanistan’s violent conflict in the 1980s. Hoping for better times one day, her father worked as a laborer to support her university studies until the family could return to their home in Afghanistan’s central province of Bamyan.

  • Portrait of a Young Man as a Civic Educator
    Aug 10, 2016

    Mazar-e-Sharif: A class of 130 female students at the Mawlana Institute of Health Sciences in downtown Mazar, listen in rapt attention as Abdullah Ahmadi (name changed), 25, a civic educator and his team explains the finer details of the on-going voter registration process to the young students: the essential documentation that they need to bring to the registration centre to establish their legal date of birth and their identification.

  • Afghan Youth Votes in Historic Election
    Aug 10, 2016

    Despite rain and security challenges in many parts of the country, Afghans went to the polls on 5th April in Presidential and Provincial Council elections. The election marks the first time in Afghanistan’s history that power is handed from one democratically elected government to another. Young Afghans who reached the age of 18 since 2010, and those who have not registered before, were queuing to receive voter cards until 1st April. As nearly two thirds of Afghans are under the age of 25, Afghanistan's youth make up a significant proportion of voters.

  • Local Democracy and Development Go Hand-in-Hand
    Aug 10, 2016

    Mahmud-i-Raqi, Kapisa Province—Mushtari, a 42-year-old high school graduate and secretary of the District Development Assembly of Mahmudi-Raqi district, some 80 kilometres north of Kabul, is presenting to fellow Assembly members a project to build a primary school for girls.

  • Enabling Responsive Governance, Cutting Time in Service Delivery
    Aug 10, 2016

    Mazar-e-Sharif: Marzia, resident of Baba Kambar area in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, found her husband disappear after the floods. She was left to fend for herself and her three daughters. Marziya approached the Citizen Service Centre (CSC) located in the Provincial Governor’s Office, with her grievance.

  • Afghanistan’s First Female District Police Chief: Colonel Jamila Bayaz
    May 26, 2016

    She was supposed to be an engineer. But Jamila Bayaz lasted a year studying engineering at Kabul University before finally convincing her family to let her join the police force.

  • Women Entrepreneurs from Herat Link with Kabul-Area Markets
    May 26, 2016

    Women from across the western province of Herat are engaged in a number of entrepreneurship activities that include making handicrafts and jewelry, growing saffron and processing dry fruit such as pistachio and almond. Women entrepreneurs from Herat City, and Gozara, Injil, Karukh, Koshan and Zindajan districts of Herat province are particularly active in running and expanding their small-scale businesses.

  • Thank, you EU! Power for Panjshir
    May 26, 2016

    Panjshir, 19 April 2016 — Before 2015, Pyawasht village in Panjshir had no electricity. Doctors stumbled over mountain roads to reach their patients, kids couldn’t study after sundown, and women gave birth in the dark.

  • A Bridge to a Better Future - One of Nearly 600 UNDP Transport Projects
    May 26, 2016

    Panjshir, 27 January 2015 — Panjshir Valley, a 2-hour drive north of Kabul, is known for its scenic mountains and crystal clear rivers. It remains one of the safest places in Afghanistan as its sky-high mountains and narrow roads are a natural barrier against terrorism. Its beauty attracts local families from nearby provinces to visit for picnics, fishing, photography and swimming.

  • Religious Inter-school Competition Inspires Young Leaders
    May 26, 2016

    Kabul, Afghanistan: “I want to be the President of Afghanistan.” This is Zhania’s response when asked about her ambitions. Zhania Zainab is the top scorer among the students of her school and for the last three years has attended a madrassa (religious school).

  • Jewelry Making Brings Hope to Impoverished Women in Herat
    May 26, 2016

    A UNDP programme trains women in jewelry making so that they can provide their families with incomes and escape abusive situations Every day Sediqa, 26, walks for two hours to get to her jewelry making class. “I save my transportation allowance to buy food for my children,” she says.

  • Women Members of the High Peace Council Present to UNDP a 250,000-Signature Petition Calling for Peace
    May 26, 2016

    The women’s committee of the High Peace Council (HPC), an Afghan body involved in the country’s peace efforts, has submitted today a petition – containing the signatures of more than 250,000 Afghan women and girls calling for peace – to the Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Afghanistan for onward transmission to the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.

  • Afghan parliamentarian Masouda Karokhi Receives the 2013 N-Peace Award
    May 26, 2016

    An Afghan women’s rights activist, Masouda Karokhi, has received in Kabul the 2013 N-Peace Award, an initiative supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

  • Afghan Women Muster Courage to Escape Domestic Violence
    May 26, 2016

    Newly-married and pregnant Amena recently took the bold step of leaving her violent husband. She is among the millions of Afghan women for whom life has improved over the past decade. Today, more women are able to access services, like legal aid, participate in decision-making, and more girls are enrolled in school than a decade ago.

  • Herat Women Get Legal Help to Fight Desertion and Domestic Violence
    May 26, 2016

    Herat, November 2011: Fatima (name changed), resident of Injil on the outskirts of Herat city in western Afghanistan, was married to her first cousin Sultan, at age 15. Unable to cope with the daily physical violence of her husband who also forbade her from attending school, and daily arguments with her mother-in-law, she ran away to her parent’s home. It has been seven months since Fatima left her husband’s home and her condition is exacerbated by the fact she is in an advanced stage of pregnancy.

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